Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Definitive Guide To Not Using a Treadmill Like a Dumbass

When I say I spend a lot of time in gyms/fitness centers I mean every waking, soul stealing moment of my life. Notice I said gyms/fitness centers. Not actual training facilities where goals are met, sweat gets puddled, and work gets down. A common trend among normal gym going health enthusiasts:

99% of them look and weigh exactly the same or worse/heavier than they did when they got their membership.

Ok, I see a little improvement here. When, oh, when will Gamma radiation be available at GNC?

There is no change because they all do exactly the same thing. Get on the treadmill (you know the one with their favorite view of the TV... assuming the TV is not actually attached to the treadmill itself), hit quick start, plug in whatever speed they have been doing for the last 11 months of their gym membership, and plod along for the next 20mins to 6 hours periodically checking heart rate (for some reason?) and calories burned (to justify all of the shit food they plan to cram into their mouth as soon as they get home.

Warning: Just skip this next paragraph to stay on track with the actual point of this thread... I just got really pissed off about something just now:
Calorie counters... on treadmills/cardio equipment in general. *sigh*. Ok, let's imagine this is actually a helpful piece of information in some magical parallel universe where children ride unicorns to school, everyone is as cool as they sound on the internet, and a calorie is a calorie. You go through an insane 500 calorie burning utter mayhem of a training session (because no one works out in the perfect world, everyone trains). Now you can go right ahead and add in 500 calories of whatever awful mess you've been craving with no ill effects!!!! Wait!!! Since this is the case, you can just never get off the treadmill and eventually you will look like all of those skinny actresses and supermodels that say they jog all the time (google Clenbuterol... Yea... jogging got them skinny). The truth is in this awful nightmare of a real world: the more calories you burn doing slow, long duration, steady state cardio, the more energy you conserve at rest. It has to do with a survival mechanism that kicks in after doing such horrible cardio-related atrocities to your body. Think about 10,000 years ago... hell, think 3,000 years ago, when the majority of humans were hunter gatherers. Burn more calories=get more food or die. Since Super Walmarts and McDonalds were in short supply, access to food usually required a heavy physical effort (chasing and spearing a Mammoth), an even harder physical effort (dragging all 10,000lbs of said dead animal back to the village), and then eating the hell out of the thing. Sprint. Kill. Eat. Conserve? Contrary to popular belief, all forms of exercise cause this conservation phenomenon. So why exercise at all? Because strong muscles=strong bones=strong hands (one of the largest measures of quality of life)=better quality of life. Jogging/cardio eats muscle, burns calories (only to completely stall the calorie burning process once you stop), and causes injuries. Want science? Ok, nerd-ass, keep your lab coat on:
Instance of serious injury for competitive weightlifters: .003 out of 100 athletes
Instance of serious injury for high level soccer players: 12 out of 100 athletes (the highest of all team sports).
Rant over. I don't even know if I made a point up there. Oh well, I feel better now either way.
So, the treadmill sucks right? Yea pretty much. But, the truth is most people shy away from using the free weights for little more than curls with the little pink dumbbells or bench pressing with horrible technique simply because they don't know what to do or how to use the stuff. Since asking most personal trainers for advice on anything is basically a death sentence, I'll give you some awesomeness that you can do with a treadmill.

1. Sprint Intervals

Warm-up for however long you need to then find a speed on the treadmill that is somewhere around 80% of the fastest you can sprint. Do that for 15 seconds, grab the hand rails, and jump your feet to the sides. Rest for anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute, and repeat as many times as feels awesome (start with at least 6-10).

2. You Break It You Buy It

That was my disclaimer for my next suggestion. Find something heavy in the gym and either hold it out in front of you or over your head while you simply walk on the treadmill for a pre-determined amount of time. Shoot for a weight you can hang on to for 10 mins. Sound easy? I thought so too. You get to a point where standing upright and breathing stop being an option. Start light and, for the love of God, don't break the treadmill.

3. Whatever This Is

Or, instead of looking like dumbass like this guy, just don't turn the treadmill on and try to move the tread with your hands for a couple minutes.

4. Variation

Take any of the above and constantly vary the speed, incline, weight used, implement used, hand placement, whatever you can think of. Anytime you change something up it is a new exercise as far as your body is concerned.

No one gets better or looks better with a treadmill because its the same thing over and over and over. Just like your brain learns stuff, so does your body. Imagine starting to read a new book but once you get done with the first page you immediately return to the first sentence and read it all over again. Imagine doing that everyday for an hour for a year straight. Eventually, you'll memorize it, know every word, and just go through the motions of reading that page. Your body does the same thing when you torture it with boredom and slowly kill it through the ill effects of cardio on that moveing death platform of a treadmill.

Variation is the spice of life. Cardio on a treadmill is the burning tire filled with used diapers of life.

Sprint. Kill. Eat. And Nevermind, Break All The Treadmills.